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  Slovenia 2006 - Part 2

 


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Slovenia - Part 2  
A day trip to the capital then on to more mountains rivers and an old spa town

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Part 3
Part 4


Day 4 - a day in Ljubljana

We drove to Ljubljana which took about one hour on busy roads but would have been a bit quicker if we had gone via the motorway although it doesn't go into the centre of the city and the northwestern section of the ring road is still being constructed. Traffic into the centre was very heavy with a couple of confusing junctions but once there, (lorries are banned) it wasn't as congested. The first challenge was finding a parking place. We took a wrong turning near the bus station and ended up in a very narrow one way street where someone had double parked so had to wait about ten minutes until he moved then just managed to exit the street by folding the mirrors in. Parking was limited to a couple of hours in most streets but eventually we found a quiet side street to the south east of the centre alongside the river bank where we were able to park all day. It was about 20 minutes walk into the centre which is mostly pedestrianised. The main attractions are the triple bridge over the river, the market areas and the shops. We noticed that most people carried umbrellas even the teenagers so showery weather seems to be the norm here as it was on the day we visited. There are two helpful tourist information centres, one just for the city and another national one which has a reasonably priced internet cafe. We aren't city lovers so one day was enough for us and we had a tedious slow journey back to the stellplatz during the evening rush hour.       



Co-operative Bank building
Co-operative Bank building 

There are some interesting old and more modern buildings worth visiting including several churches and an old style department store with art deco interior, creaky wooden floors and ladies waiting behind the counters to serve the customers. Most people in there were tourists like us just looking around. Otherwise there was a mix of trendy designer and fashion shops.  

Papal doorat St Nicholas's Cathedral
Papal door at St Nicholas's Cathedral

Shrine on wall of St Nicholas's Cathedral
Shrine on wall of St Nicholas's Cathedral

Ljubljana centre with petite train
Ljubljana centre with petite train


Ljubljana city centre
Ljubljana city centre


Art Deco Centromerkur department store
Art Deco Centromerkur department store

Triple Bridge Ljubljana
Triple Bridge Ljubljana


Day 5  Northeast to a mountain valley

We continued our journey by heading northeast towards the Kamniske Savinje Alps via the old town of Kamnik, driving up through woods hoping to take the cable car to the alpine plateau of Velika Planina but it wasn't operating. We returned down the valley and took the road around the hills passing through Gornji Grad where there's the largest cathedral in Slovenia (so we discovered later) and up another valley through the town of Luce with a wooden road bridge with a 10 Tonne weight limit. We had to stop suddenly as a very heavily laden logging lorry came over it. We waited for the creaking sounds! Then through more wooded gorges to the nature reserve at Logarska Dolina (Logar Valley) where after paying a toll of 1200 Tolars we drove several miles up the picturesque valley with flowered meadows, to the end of the road at the base of the mountains where there was still some snow and the Slap Rinka waterfall. As we left the reserve entrance we noticed that it was possible to park motorhomes overnight in a clearing just to the right, apparently for a fee of 5 a night. As it was now raining heavily and we wanted to find a campsite we drove back to the main road and found a site at Camping Menina at Varpolje near Mozirje where we were met by the friendly young owner who insisted that everyone listened to his illustrated talk about the area and its attractions (in English with a bit of Dutch for the benefit of our fellow campers). 
   
 
Camping Menina
                       Camping Menina

The site had a small lake and was near the River Savinja. In high season it has a bar and restaurant but as usual in the low season there was much construction work going on with the addition of a few log cabins and improved facilities.

  Camping Menina entrance with old wine press
  Camping Menina entrance with old wine press



 Logarska Dolina nature reserve
Logarska Dolina nature reserve

Old farm in Varpolje village
Old farm in Varpolje village

Old house in Varpolje
Old house in Varpolje


Day 6  a trip to get gas - with diversions

As we had not refilled our gas bottle for a couple of weeks and knowing that there were few autogas refilling places in Slovenia, after a lazy morning we decided to head to the city of Celje, the third largest town, where a gas depot was listed. It is a large busy town and we got completely lost. Stopping at a petrol station to ask for directions we managed with the help of a motorist who spoke some German and a bit of English to find out where to get the gas, which was on an industrial estate near a huge modern shopping centre. We refilled the tank which was in fact only half empty, so only bought 7 litres for 4. Having had enough of town driving we headed north we saw a sign for Dobrno a spa town so headed there. An interesting mix of old spa buildings and gardens and an ultra modern hotel with a shop consisting of an old kiosk that sold everything (but was closed!). Obviously thermal spa resorts are still a big thing in Slovenia!

 One-stop shop at Dobrno
       One-stop shop at Dobrno

A short drive took us to Velenje a "new" town built by Tito in the Communist era where we stopped at a Spar shopping precinct to get some cash and found a traditional Slovenian band playing in the mall. Leaving Velenje via back roads through housing estates and a huge coal mine and industrial complex we returned across pleasant wooded hills to Camping Menina  

  Traditional Slovenian band 
      Traditional Slovenian band



Old spa building at Dobrno
Old spa building at Dobrno

Modern hotel at Dobrno
Modern hotel at Dobrno


Weather station at Dobrno spa
Weather station at Dobrno spa

 
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